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Duration 01.03

Pacifists besieged in a London church, First World War

This footage shows a meeting of pacifists in a London church, which is interrupted by patriots. We see a large crowd outside the church, some trying to get in and then dragging people out, or throwing things through window. A chair is used to break a church window. Crowds gather round, then a policeman enters the church.

The National Archives Education team have recently launched a workshop for students called Fighting Conscription, which asks ‘Why did men appeal against conscription?’ Students answer this question by critically examining the case papers of the Middlesex Appeals Tribunal, which, between 1916 and 1918, heard the appeals of men who previously applied to a local tribunal for exemption from military service. Through the individual stories held in these records students explore the impact of conscription on British society.